31 flavors of mindfulness give you ways to practice mindfulness for a happy life in every aspect of life. Mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools for happiness, but the way to practice mindfulness remains confused or shrouded for many. This simple and fun presentation takes the mystery out of mindfulness. It is part of a suite of tools for happiness @happycounts.org
31 Flavors of Mindfulness - how to practice mindfulness in every aspect of your life
31 ways to practice
Not every mindfulness practice is for
everybody, and at different times in your life
different mindfulness practices will work for
you. And so here are...
Bare attention means keeping your mindfulness simple.
There is nothing magical or special needed to practice mindfulness. No struggle,
violence or force is needed. No one is grading you. There is no right way.
Practice mindfulness with ease.
for all 31 flavors
follow your breath
Spend some time everyday focusing on
your breath. When your mind wanders,
which it will, bring your focus back to
your breath. Each time you bring your
mind back is a good thing – it means
you are training your self to be more
present in every day life.
flavor: french vanilla
follow your thoughts
Spend some time everyday noticing
your thoughts. As your mind wanders,
notice it. Notice how thoughts, feelings,
desires, and impulses arise and then
Start with your toes and work your way
to the top of your head, noticing how
each part of your body feels. If a part of
the body has no feeling, notice that.
Bring yourself back to the last part of
your body when your mind wanders.
flavor: chocolate chip
gratitude body scan
Start with your toes and work your way
to the top of your head, thanking each
part of your body. If a part of your body
is hurt, thank it for all the work it has
done for you in the past. As with the
body scan, bring your focus back to the
last part of your body when your mind
flavor: peanut butter cup
At least once a day, practice generosity. Give a gift, time or an act of
service to someone. Do it mindfully, being aware of how you feel,
before, during and after you give. Allow any judgments or thoughts
to arise and notice their passing. Give to yourself too, especially if
you are already a giving person.
flavor: chocolate chunk
Spend some time silently listing all the
people, circumstances and things for
which you are grateful. Dwell on each
one, feeling the gratitude. Notice how
you feel while you do this, and after.
little moments of gratitude practice
In this practice, you sprinkle reminders to be grateful throughout
your day. Start by choosing five things for which you are grateful.
Perhaps it is your pet, your partner, your home, your pillow –
anyone or thing that you feel lucky to have in your life. Make a list
or create some reminder and put it where you will see it everyday,
such as on the bathroom mirror or by the toothpaste. Set the
intention to pause for one moment and feel gratitude when you
encounter that person or thing in your daily life. At the end of the
day, you can make up for any lost movements as you re-encounter
Naming first yourself,
then someone you dearly love (this can be a pet too),
then a friend or family member,
then a person your feel neutrally about,
then a person you feel hostility towards,
then all people in the world,
silently chant the three phrases:
may ___ be happy,
may ___ be healthy,
may __ be at peace.
guided loving kindness
Find a guided loving kindness meditation and listen to
it regularly. There are many on dharmaseed.org,
or you can start with a favorite here:
http://www.portlandinsight.org/node/25. Choose one
that has a voice that feels loving and comforting to
you and that gives instructions that feel loving and
me-you loving kindness
In this meditation, you focus first on yourself for ten
minutes, then someone you love. Slowing go through the
may ___ be happy,
may ___ be healthy,
may __ be at peace,
allowing visualizations and thoughts to arise with the intent
of these to be loving and kind. When feelings or thoughts
of anger, sadness, grief or ill-will arise, focus loving
kindness on these thoughts and feelings and on yourself.
flavor: imagine whirled peace
feeling fat practice
This practice is for when you are feeling fat, stupid or otherwise
hating yourself. When these thoughts and feelings arise, take a
moment to just note your thoughts, feelings and judgment, of
yourself. Try not to judge yourself for having these thoughts and
feelings, just note that you have them. If you can, give yourself a
little pat on the back for being someone who cares about
yourself, like “I am glad I am the kind of person who cares about
my appearance and health.” As you practice, you will start to
notice patterns in these sorts of thoughts. If you can, follow this
practice with a walking or loving kindness meditation.
this moment meditation
You can do this meditation anywhere at any point in
your daily life. Notice what is happening, or any
aspect of what is happening, and say to your self,
“this moment is like this.” If you find yourself liking or
disliking the moment, notice that, and say to yourself,
“it’s like this, this moment is like this.” As each
moment passes, notice how the present moment is
different or similar to the past moment and again note
to yourself, “this moment is like this.”
flavor: mint chocolate chip
Find a space in your home of about three or more
feet. Slowly walk back and forth, noticing how each
step feels as you rise your heel, lift off your toes, lift
your foot, move it, toes touch ground, heel touches
ground, full foot. Then do the same with the next foot.
Notice how a foot step begins and ends, and when it
is over, it is over. Each time your mind wanders, bring
it back to your footstep.
moving quickly meditation
This practice is best done after you have some practice doing
walking meditations. In this practice, you apply mindfulness to
fast movements like walking quickly, jogging or running. You
can take each footfall, the feet, your legs or your entire body
as your object of focus. Notice your mind straying from your
object of focus, and bring it back to your object of focus. Notice
how objects outside you appear and disappear as you rush.
You can do this meditation when you are in a hurry too, such
as rushing to an appointment or to catch a flight in the airport.
Put on some music and let your body dance to the
music. Notice how your body spontaneously moves to
the beat. Notice when your mind starts thinking, and
what it is thinking, all without judgment (even not
judging the mind judging). Notice how your arms,
shoulders, hips, legs, feet, etc. move. When you are
lost in the music, then awareness of yourself, your
movements or thinking arises again, notice this.
Choose one food item and set the intention to focus
on each bite as you eat it. Notice how you feel and
what is happening in your body as you prepare to eat.
Notice how the first bite feels (or lick if its ice cream!),
notice the next bite. Notice the thoughts that come up.
If you mind wanders off your food, notice when you
notice the mind has wandered and bring your focus
back to your food.
flavor: dulce de leche
Like with the eating meditation, choose something
that you love to do. Maybe it is dancing, maybe sex,
maybe taking a walk, watching a sunset, getting a
massage or petting an animal. Decide to pay attention
to what is happening each moment. Notice where the
pleasure is. Notice when the mind starts thinking,
feeling or wandering and bring your attention back to
what is happening. Notice when memories, desires or
cravings are triggered, and bring your attention back
to what is happening.
In most meditations, your aim is to stay focused on your
mediation object. In this meditation, your aim is to focus on
your breath with the intent of watching your mind, body and
breath as you fall asleep. Try to notice whether you fall
asleep on an in-breath or out-breath. Do the same when you
wake, and notice your mind, body an breath upon awakening.
flavor: butter pecan
waking up meditation
For this practice, you take some extra time in the morning. You can
set your alarm for a half hour or ten minutes before you want to get
out of bed, and use snooze or set another alarm for the time you will
get out of bed. When the alarm wakes you up, start your practice.
You may decide to follow your breath or your thoughts or focus on
sounds. As you drift off, bring your focus back. When you fall back
asleep, notice when you wake up again, and bring your mind back
to your mindfulness practice. Notice any judgments or thoughts,
and then bring your focus back to your object of focus. Even if you
have only one moment of mindfulness in the morning, that is very
flavor: banana split
When you can not sleep, practice a breath focusing
meditation or body scan. As you breath, notice when
your mind fades into a dull state and whether it does
this on an in-breath or out-breath. Notice when your
mind comes back fully awake and whether it does this
on an in-breath or out-breath. Each time your mind
thinks about your insomnia, what ever it bothering
you, or wanders away, notice whether you do this on
an in-breath or out-breath. (Actually, you can do any
of meditations for insomnia).
flavor: chocolate chip cookie dough
Spend some time noticing each sound as it arises.
Notice your noticing of the sound. Notice as you
notice sounds that arise, then pass away that are
exterior to your body. Notice as you notice sounds
within the body (breath, heart beat, etc). Each time
your mind wanders, notice this and bring your focus
back to the noise that arises.
flavor: lactose free coconut milk
Choose a piece of music that is relaxing and lovely to
you. Find a comfortable place where you feel safe.
Close your eyes and listen to it with full attention.
Each time your mind wanders, bring it back to the
music. Notice how the music effects your mind, body,
feelings, and thoughts, and bring your focus back to
flavor: dairy free pecan
Choose a mantra. Some people use the sound “om”
or a similar chant. Others use a special phrase. You
can start by saying the mantra out loud, then silently
repeat it, letting it soak in. Repeat the mantra silently
over and over, bringing your focus back to the mantra
every time the mind wanders. This meditation can be
very useful when you are feeling extremely stressed
and it is too hard to do any other meditation.
energy flow meditation
In this meditation you imagine a flow of energy running
through your body. You can use the “chakras” as stations
and also imagine colors for each chakra. (the chakras are top
of your head, middle of forehead, throat, heart, solar plexus
(between heart & belly), belly, bottom). Or you can imagine a
continual flow going from your head to your feet. You can do
this practice quickly for just a moment, or take time for each
flow and imagine the flow repeatedly. For some, this
meditation has an added benefit of increasing energy.
flavor: root beer
You can do this meditation anywhere at any time, in a crowd or
alone. In this meditation, you note what you are seeing. Try to
stay focused on just noting what you see. When a feeling
thought or judgment comes up as a result of seeing something,
note that and bring your focus back to what you the next thing
you see. After a while, bring your eyes down or close them and
notice the feelings, thoughts and impulses that come up, letting
each one pass without judgment. Note also your judgment of
yourself, and let it go without judgment.
noticing other meditation
Spend some time noticing another person. Notice how
they breath, how they walk or any other aspect of
them. Notice how this makes you feel. Notice the
impact the other person has on you. When you find
yourself lost in thoughts about the other person or
yourself, notice that. Bring your attention back to the
other person. (Do be careful not to do this in a way
that makes someone else uncomfortable!)
In this meditation practice, you take an external object for your
focus. It may be the light of a candle, the rain dropping on a pond,
the wind rustling a branch. Focus on it. Each time your mind strays,
bring your focus back to it. After a while, close your eyes and bring
the object to mind, bringing your focus back to the object in your
imagination each time it strays. When your eyes open again, note
their opening and bring your focus back to the object.
who am i meditation
This meditation practice is not for everyone! It is advanced, should
be done for only short time periods, and as part of a longer different
mindfulness practice. This practice is best done in tandem with an
understanding of the three foundations of mindfulness and with the
guidance of a teacher, as it can lead to misunderstandings. In this
practice, sit quietly and ask yourself “Who am I?” Note the answers
that come up without judging or thinking about them. Ask again,
again noting the answers that come up. Note the noting. Note the
thoughts that come up about the noting. Ask again, “Who am I?”
flavor: rocky road
This practice is harder to do. Start with a small pain or
something like sitting still for 2o minutes. When the
pain arises, focus very intently on it. Pay attention to
every detail about it. When your mind starts belly-
aching about how much it hurts, refocus your mind on
the pain. Notice when it disappears, and then when it
arises again. This practice yields very strong results,
but is hard to do.
flavor: blue berry
down & out meditation
Like the pain meditation, this is an advanced practice. It’s
especially hard because often when you feel down, your first
instinct is get away from the feeling. Like with the pain
meditation, this practice yields tremendous results. When you
get that down feeling, take some quiet time to go into it. Focus
on where the feeling is. Is it in your heart? Your stomach? Your
head? Let yourself drop into the feeling. Each time your mind
strays, bring it back to the feeling. Spend as long as you can
exploring it. Be gentle with yourself, and if it’s only a moment or
two that you last, congratulate yourself for that.
little glimpses mindfulness
In this practice, you aim to bring little moments of mindfulness into
your everyday life. Gather several small pieces of paper and tape or
blank stickers, write down a word such as “aware” or “notice” on
each one. Place them on everyday objects, like your laptop screen
frame, the microwave door, the bowl where you keep your keys.
Each time you see the sticker, notice that you are seeing it. Notice
and note to yourself what you do next. Likely, you will quickly lose
awareness, and when awareness arises again (maybe when you
see the next sticker), notice its arising again. It’s important not to
judge yourself for losing awareness, and when you do, notice it.